The Marriage Plot
Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
4 of 5 stars
This was the January book pick for #twookclub. At first, I was excited to read it because I had heard nothing but rave reviews. It was the book I voted for. And then, I started hearing more and more people talk about it. How it was slow and boring. How the characters, especially Maddy, were annoying. Some people even gave up on the book before finishing. So I opened the book with a lot of apprehension. The book was not an easy read, but I can surely shelve it as one of the best books I've ever read. The characters were dynamic and interesting, the plot was intriguing, and the themes were compelling. There was something about each main character - Maddy, Leonard, and Mitchell - that called to me. I loved them all and feel like it so accurately depicted the life of a 20something college graduate and all the mistakes and experiences they go through. I absolutely adored Eugenides writing style. And it made for a great, honest discussion during our #twookclub chat. I'm so grateful for all of you who made it to the chat!
What Happened to Goodbye
Author: Sarah Dessen
5 of 5 stars
Mclean Sweet is a 17-year-old girl who had her world rocked when her parents announced they were getting a divorce. Her mom was leaving her father to marry the coach of her father's favorite basketball team. And her mom was pregnant with the coach's twins at the time. Not being able to handle a completely new relationship with her mom, her new stepfather, and twin babies, Mclean decided to move in with her father. It was a hard decision but the right one to make at the time. Mclean and her father, a restaurant consultant, moved around a lot in the next 3 years as he traveled to city to city wherever the restaurant he was consulting at needed him. In each new city, she developed a new persona and a new name. It was her way of coping but it wasn't until she started in the town the book took place in that she discovered how damaging these personas could be. In this new town, she didn't have a chance to be someone new. In this town, she was Mclean. Mclean who found a group of friends who liked her just as she was, even if her life was pretty messed-up. It was a story about friendship and family, and how desperately we need both. With each new Sarah Dessen book I read, I find another character I connect with and love. Her characters have so much depth and life to them that I can see myself in them. There is something about the way Dessen crafts plots and characters that draws you in from the first page and leaves you sad when you finish, as if you just had to leave behind some of your best friends. Another beautifully written story and one I completely recommend.
Author: Catherine Mann
4 of 5 stars
I'll admit: military-driven romances are my guilty pleasure. If you find a great author, these books can seem so authentic and real, the characters tangible and the books incredibly difficult to put down. Catherine Mann is one of those authors (Suzanne Brockmann and Cindy Gerard are two other I wholly recommend). The series of hers I'm reading through now follows the lives of pararescuemen, which is a branch of the military I've never read about before. This book followed the lives of Wade Rocha and Sunny Foster. Wade is a PJ who jumps out of a plane to rescue Sunny, a guide and a lady who knows her way around the Alaskan territory. The book is action-packed from the first sentence to the last as Sunny and Wade uncover a murder plot and try to find out who is behind the serial murders happening in her small, cut-off-from-the-world town. Their romance is sizzling (and believable!). The character development is spot on. And while this isn't a whodunit type of book, it was still a thriller to see how it all unfolded.
What is your guilty pleasure when it comes to reading? If you read The Marriage Plot for #twookclub (or for your own reading pleasure!), what did you think of it?